“Don’t wait for a practitioner to figure things out for you. You are an advocate of you. Empower yourself.”
– Misty Williams
At 36, Misty was a successful digital marketing entrepreneur who powered through long work weeks and ran half marathons.
Then it all fell apart.
What should have been a quick surgery set off a cascade of ailments that Misty felt powerless to stop.
Doctor after doctor couldn’t pinpoint the reasons behind her severe fatigue, brain fog and rapid weight gain. In fact, most didn’t even try.
Finally, she took her health into her own hands, found answers and began feeling better than ever before.
“Everything turned around in my journey when I learned to advocate for myself,” she says.
A Surgery Gone Awry
Prior to her health nose-dive, Misty had gone in for a routine physical to check her fertility. Surprisingly, her gynecologist found a cantaloupe-sized cyst on one of her ovaries.
The cyst would be removed with a 20-minute surgery, with a small chance of Misty losing her ovary. However, when the surgeon opened up her abdomen, she found it covered with endometrial-like tissue.
The procedure stretched to 2½ hours as the surgeon removed the cyst, one of her ovaries and the tissue.
Misty returned home with a list of instructions for recovery and a rundown of potential side effects. However, the violent vomiting that soon began wasn’t one of them.
Dehydrated and extremely bloated, she tried to reach her doctor for days, but received no response.
Finally, she parked herself in her doctor’s office until they dealt with her. The office instructed her to go to the emergency room, where they learned her small intestine had been stitched up in surgery.
Once again, she went in for surgery to have her small intestine repaired.
The Nightmare Continues
Misty’s health mishap should have been nearly over at that point. But the stress of the entire ordeal revved her body such that she didn’t sleep for six straight days or 150 hours.
“It was likely from just crazy high cortisol levels because of the unbelievable stress my body had been through,” she says. “I thought I was losing my mind.”
In the weeks that followed, she expected to return to her previous, energetic self. Instead, she struggled with severe brain fog and fatigue.
In a follow-up appointment with her gynecologist, she learned that she had premature ovarian failure and that endometriosis had caused the tissue growth within her abdomen.
With endo, “endometrial-like” tissue is found outside the uterus, according to the Center for Endometriosis Care. That can cause pain, inflammation, cysts, adhesions, organ dysfunction and more.
Misty had always had painful periods but didn’t think anything of it. Now, the doctor prescribed birth control to control her endometriosis and extreme periods.
Disillusioned with Doctors
The doctor, however, didn’t have answers for the brain fog and fatigue, or the 45 pounds she gained in just a 3-month period.
Misty repeatedly pushed her primary care doctor for lab work, but the doctor was resistant.
“I felt like something was wrong with my body, like they’d found this disease living inside of me,” she says. “I really wanted to fix whatever was wrong. I wanted to go after the root cause, but I didn’t have that language back then.”
Finally, the doctor said to her, “Misty, I can run labs, but I wouldn’t know what they mean.”
“I had these preconceived ideas about medicine and who doctors were and that was just being shattered,” Misty adds.
Next, she saw an endocrinologist who finally ran lab work, but found nothing abnormal in the results. However, she did discover nodules on her thyroid and recommended surgery – again.
Given her previous experience with surgery, Misty wasn’t so sure she wanted to go through it again.
“I left her office feeling like there’s nothing in conventional medicine that’s going to help me,” she says.
Finding the Real Root Causes of Fatigue and More
Misty then spent two years searching for someone who could help her. She moved to Austin and began exploring functional medicine as an alternative. Functional medicine looks for the root causes of illness, rather than treating symptoms.
Through her own research and functional medicine practitioners, she uncovered numerous root causes that previous doctors had missed:
Hypothyroidism and hormonal imbalances
Misty suspects she had hypothyroidism for years, but it took that long to get a diagnosis. She also discovered estrogen dominance – when there is excess estrogen relative to other hormones – which likely contributed to her endometriosis and thyroid nodules.
Heavy metal toxicity
Testing turned up high levels of heavy metals such as mercury. In 2013, Misty had had a mercury filling removed with no protective measures, likely overloading her system with the toxic metal.
The metals and toxins they found had potentially shut down important processes in her body. Heavy metals are associated with numerous symptoms, including brain fog, fatigue and immune dysfunction.
She learned she had chronic Epstein-Barr virus, which contributed to her immune dysfunction.
Infected root canal
Misty found an infected root canal – another drain on her immune system.
Testing also turned up insulin resistance, where the body ignores the signal that insulin is trying to send regarding transferring glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.
A Multi-Layered, Healing Protocol
Misty began a long, step-by-step process of healing herself through numerous approaches:
- Diet – She eats an organic, paleo diet to minimize toxins and inflammatory foods.
- Hormone help – Instead of birth control, she started taking calcium D-glucarate to help her body process extra estrogen, added progesterone, and started bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
- Detox – Perhaps the greatest influencer, she followed detox protocols to eliminate toxins. She also removed chemicals from her house by switching to non-toxic cleaning and beauty products. And she uses only natural fiber rugs.
- Root canal removal – She removed the infected root canal to enable the infection to clear.
- Gut healing – She began a gut-healing protocol.
- Viral healing – She addressed Epstein-Barr by turning to natural solutions recommended by Kasia Kines, author of The Epstein-Barr Virus Solution.
Empowering Women for Better Health
Today, through her relentless pursuit of answers, Misty has her energy, her brain – and her life – back.
“I want to share all the tools and resources that I’ve found along the way that really work,” she says. “There are lots and lots of women who can relate to my struggle and who feel like they’re playing whack a mole on this journey and I want to help them. Healing Rosie is to create more certainty on a path that’s very uncertain so that women have confidence and feel like they’re not alone.”
Misty encourages women to find a team of practitioners that includes a doctor who takes insurance and can run labwork for you, and functional medicine or other non-conventional providers with a different approach to help you uncover root causes.
However, she urges women not to rely solely on practitioners. “Don’t wait for a practitioner to figure things out for you. You are an advocate of you. Empower yourself,” she says.
What works for one person may not work for another. Consult your health practitioner for professional health advice before trying any new approaches.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like: Houston R.N. Takes the Edge off Endometriosis with Diet, Meditation.